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PARC, Thar Foundation partners to combat drought in Thar

KARACHI: Attempting to make drought irrelevant in the region of Thar, the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) has entered into an agreement with Thar Foundation (TF) to grow cash crops, fruit trees, modified seeds and fodder through efficient and innovative irrigation systems.

Both organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) here on Wedne sday to this end. This MoU is also aimed at growing plants through hydroponics, reducing salinity and developing a multi-directional commercial value chain involving livestock.

Syed Murtaza Azhar Rizvi, Director, Thar Foundation and Dr. Yusuf Zafar Chairman, PARC signed the MoU which will seek to establish a value chain for potential future farmers, empowerment of farmers through self-sufficiency and enhancement of nutritional capacity within Thar Coal Block-II. Both partners will also undertake an analysis and pre-emptive remediation of land degradation due to saline water in Thar Block II, said a news release.

In addition, PARC will also provide on-ground supervisors who will be available to supervise designated bio-saline projects which have been initiated by Thar Foundation. This association will entail visits by senior research scientists from PARC for survey of projects, advisory on how to move forward, plantation of new species and other technical matters.

Moreover, the agreement also would bring together joint efforts to evaluate feasibility and sustainability of installing domestic biogas units modelled on the utilization of animal waste as fuel and fertilizer and they will also provide monitoring and surveillance services for the implemented plans.

For this project, Thar foundation has provided 20 acres of land for the execution of a pilot project along with the required resources i.e. water and seeds procurement/saplings. Thar Foundation will also provide the necessary support to facilitate execution of the project including the provision of funds & monitor of funds for the mutually agreed plan.

Speaking on the occasion, the PARC chairman said, Dr. Yusuf Zafar Chairman it’s a proud moment for them to partner with Thar Foundation, with the supreme objective to eliminate drought in the region.

“We would like to replicate successful models in Thar carried out through the Arid Zone Research Institute, Umerkot,” he added.

Syed Murtaza Azhar Rizvi of Thar Foundation said that Thar has huge reserves of groundwater, estimating a capacity of 80 billion cubic meters of the aquifer, which can be pumped out to make Thar as an agriculture-rich region.

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